Therapeutic Foster Carer

A significant number of children are coming into care having experienced trauma. They may have been neglected or abused. This can make it hard for them to trust other people and build relationships. This can result in challenging behaviours because their needs are complex. Depression, anger or withdrawn behaviour can be common amongst such children. In such cases, we seek to place a child with a carer who has been trained in therapeutic foster care. The child then has the chance to build a trusting, enduring relationship with their carer. Whilst in placement, a child may receive additional therapy, which can enable them to overcome the traumatic experiences they have undergone.

What does therapeutic foster care involve?

A therapeutic foster carer will have received special training. This enables them to create a supportive environment for a child or young person who has suffered trauma. The carer will be able to appreciate the experiences of the child and their negative impacts. Understanding what has gone wrong, means the carer will have the skills to support the child’s emotional, psychological and social development. .

No two cases are alike - for some children, a programme of ongoing therapy may be required

. This will involve one of our psychologists. The number of sessions may vary from child to child. Through the training, the carer will have a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for a child’s behaviour. This enables them to play a key role in supporting a programme of therapy in the home. Therapeutic foster carers provide the kind of consistent care, knowledge and support that guards against placement breakdowns. When placements are repeatedly disrupted, this can be particularly damaging for a child who may already have experienced trauma.

How is a therapeutic foster care placement managed

We provide intensive support for our carers: a detailed assessment is made on a case by case basis. Then a ‘Therapeutic Assessment Programme’ establishes where clinical input may be required.

Placements are closely monitored by our specialist team and support is available day and night - all year round. We also offer carers the chance to obtain further qualifications to build their professional skills. Rates of pay are higher for therapeutic foster carers in recognition of the key role they play in the team.

A therapeutic foster carer must be able to demonstrate consistency at all times by offering:

  • a deep understanding of the underlying reasons affecting a child’s moods and behavior
  • the ability to ‘look beyond’ negative behaviours and work to understand their causes;
  • a stable and secure home environment;
  • the willingness to always be available to talk with a child;
  • the commitment to support a child’s therapeutic programme;
  • the awareness healing takes time and patience;
  • their belief in the potential and abilities of a child

What can a therapeutic foster carer achieve?

Everything! As seen through the eyes of the child who has been helped, to start to enjoy friendships and feel a sense of self esteem - perhaps for the first time ever. A therapeutic foster carer can truly alter the course of a young life. Receiving consistent understanding and support can enable a child to develop socially and succeed with their education. This can give them a future with prospects. There can be few things as rewarding as making that kind of difference for a child.

So, at Rainbow, we expect our therapeutic foster carers to take the opportunities provided for them to build on their skills and knowledge. Offering a clear path for professional development demonstrates the value we place on our carers, their efforts and aspirations. Supporting these, and working as a team, we can all give children a chance to make a success of their lives.